As President Donald Trump spoke in front of a crowd of young conservatives at Turning Point USA’s student summit on Tuesday, nobody took a second glance at the presidential seal projected behind him. They probably should have, considering that it was altered to poke fun at the president.
The photoshopped seal contains several details that are meant to troll the president for his friendliness with Russian President Vladimir Putin and expensive golfing habits. The bald eagle in the center has two heads instead of one, and its shield is swapped out for a more rectangular symbol that resembles Russia’s coat of arms. A two-headed eagle is also a symbol of empire and dominance and is featured on the flags of Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro, according to the Washington Post, which first reported on the incident.
The letters on the banner the eagle holds in its mouth are also altered: Rather than the Latin phrase “E pluribus unum” — “Out of many, one” — it says “45 es un títere,” a Spanish phrase that translates to “45 is a puppet.” And the eagle is holding cash in its talons instead of an olive branch. Take a look:
The altered #PresidentialSeal is brilliant trolling. Clutching golf clubs & cash instead of an olive branch & arrows. "45 is a puppet" written in Spanish instead of E Pluribus Unum ("Out of many, one") & then a Russian-style two-headed eagle & Russianized flag w/hammer & sickle. pic.twitter.com/ONoXxSiBz2— Shannon #IDONTMIND (@jodfoster) July 25, 2019
One final difference: Rather than grasping 13 arrows in its other talons, the two-headed eagle in the altered seal carries golf clubs instead, pointing to the president’s frequent golfing trips. Despite having tweeted 27 complaints about then-President Barack Obama’s golf habits from 2011 to 2016, according to SB Nation, Trump has taken frequent trips on taxpayers’ money — a total of 198, to be exact. In May, HuffPost reported that his frequent golfing had cost taxpayers $102 million so far in his presidency, due to the extra security and travel expenses.
Neither the Trump administration nor officials at Turning Point USA know how the seal found its way onstage. Turning Point USA has been playing down the incident, calling it a “last minute throw-up,” according to the Post. CNN also reported that the incident was a result of an unfortunate Google search mistake, and a member of the organization’s AV team has been fired as a result.
“Somewhere there was a breakdown. I think it was as simple as a rushed move throwing up an image, and it was the wrong one,” the spokesperson told the Post. “It was an A/V mistake ... it certainly wasn’t our intention.”